Nearly a week after the event, Maine credit union executives are still talking about a rousing speech given to a record crowd by Ari Fleischer, former White House press secretary, urging CUs to press ahead with advocacy programs.
The annual Maine Credit Union League Legislative Forum held at a Freeport hotel drew more than 100 CEOs and others who heard Fleischer, the former Bush aide from 2001-2003, appeal to CUs to get more involved in the political process this year to protect the industry's interests and convey its mission.
Fleisher, a CU member since 1983, also said there's no doubt the Republicans have the "intensity" for a big November turnout fueled by the Tea Party campaigns.
Fleischer said he believes the Tea Party energy brought to the Republican base outweighs any splits it may be creating in the party. As for moderate voters, he believes the same frustrated voters who helped defeat Republicans nationally in the 2006 and 2008 elections will now help Republicans defeat Democrats in 2010.
When speaking of the political environment in Maine, Fleischer said, "The impact of the frustration with the economy and the status quo will not necessarily carry over to Maine--it is a state-by-state, election-by-election impact. Let's not forget, too, Maine voters can be particularly independent."
Also at the forum, attendees heard about the election campaigns of four CU directors running for seats in the Maine House. They include two incumbents, Rep. Herb Clark, vice chair, Katahdin FCU, and Rep. Michael Lajoie, vice chair, Lewiston Municipal FCU. The other two candidates are Kenneth Fredette, director, Sebasticook Valley FCU, and John Picciotti, chairman, KSW FCU.